Updated 28 December 2003

I spent two weeks in Florence and surrounds (just prior to the Sep 11 horrors) doing an intensive class in Italian language to brush up on my skills.  I am fortunate to have been going to that lovely country for years with work, but to have an occasion where you are just living like the locals (= not in an hotel) and having the time to slow down, look, sit, read, drink the world's best coffee (OK maybe it is the atmosphere that helps) is a tremendously relaxing time.  Oh, and did I say eat?

  Just to prove I really was there.  Great weather as you can see.

  Unfortunately only plaster.

  Palazzo Vecchio, original home of the Medicis.

  This is part of Florence very few people see, the oldest pharmacy in the world, Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.  Stared in 1612 and still operating as you can see.  Like being in a jewel box.

  And more.  Not expensive either.

  The 12th September - the British Embassy flag at half mast.

  You would only get a woody at this photo if you were a wine nut like me.  In the US these three bottles would be triple the cost.

  Chianti countryside.

  Abadia (Abby) di Coltinbuono.   A fake Italian man.

Another terribly dull village.  Not.

  The vines were three weeks from harvest.

   With my friend Loriano before we cycled up bloody mountains.  Fortunately there was always a down hill following.

  A funny story to go with this photo but too long for here.  Just imagine the possibilities.

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